Cybersecurity company McAfee shares fall in return to market

October 22, 2020, 9:34 PM UTC

McAfee shares fell 6.5% in their trading debut after a $740 million initial public offering in a muted return to the public markets after a decade.

The cybersecurity software starting trading Thursday at $18.60, below its $20 IPO price. The shares never rose above $19.50 and closed at $18.70, giving it a market value of about $8.1 billion based on the outstanding shares listed in its filings. McAfee and its existing investors sold 37 million shares after marketing them for $19 to $22 each.

McAfee CEO Peter Leav said in a phone interview that the company now sees 8,600 threats every minute as well as a 70% increase in mobile malware attempted attacks. The Covid-19 pandemic has also led to more cybercrime, with employees around the world working from home on often less-secure networks.

“Unfortunately what’s happening in the world is also benefiting the cyber criminals,” Leav said. “Cyber criminals are not just doing the traditional phishing expeditions, they’re using Covid as a lure.”

Big gains

Software IPOs are one of the biggest and best-performing segments on U.S. exchanges this year. Excluding McAfee, they have accounted for 11% of the $128 billion raised and have climbed 90% from their offer prices on a weighted average basis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares to an average increase of 56% for all other listings, excluding special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs.

Enterprise software maker Snowflake, which raised $3.86 billion including so-called greenshoe shares in September, is the biggest U.S. IPO this year for a company other than a SPAC. It also had one of the best trading debuts of 2020, rising 112% on its first day.

McAfee’s lackluster debut was proceeded by that of Datto, which gained only 0.4% in its trading debut Wednesday after raising $594 million.

Based in San Jose, Calif., McAfee was acquired by Intel in a 2010 deal. In 2016, Intel announced that it had signed an agreement to transfer a 51% stake in McAfee to the investment firm TPG for $1.1 billion. The transaction valued the spun-off company at $4.2 billion, including debt.

TPG, Intel

Current backers listed in McAfee’s prospectus include TPG, Intel, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte and the private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

For the 26 weeks ended June 27, McAfee had net income of $31 million on revenue of $1.4 billion, according to its filings. That compared with a loss of $146 million on revenue of $1.3 billion for the comparable period last year.

The offering was led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., TPG Capital BD, Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. McAfee’s shares are trading on the Nasdaq Global Select market under the symbol MCFE.

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